Bennett, Abbas, and Gantz
Bennett, Abbas, and GantzReuters and Flash 90

Following a meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Israel has agreed to loan the PA half a billion shekels, a massive sum which is unlikely to ever be repaid. Arutz Sheva spoke to attorney Nitsana Darshan Leitner, chairwoman of the Shurat Hadin legal organization, about the implications of the loan.

"Whether it is a loan or whether it turns out to be a grant as I believe, because the PA will not be able to repay it as was the case in the past, this is a decision that is detached from reality. Israel transfers funds to a terrorist entity, an entity that funds terrorists who sit in prisons because they murdered Jews. This money that Israel is transferring will eventually go to these terrorists," Darshan Leiner says.

She further states that "Israel did not condition the transfer of these funds on the cessation of the Palestinian entity's activity in the Hague Tribunal. This is an entity that seeks to prosecute IDF soldiers for war crimes, this is an entity that wants to see IDF soldiers detained in prison for thirty years. It is to this entity that Israel transfers money, even though it has not stopped for a moment the inciting of the murder of Jews in its education system, its welfare system and its media. Israel donates half a billion shekels to such an entity and it can be called a loan or a grant. It does not matter."

Darshan Leitner does not accept the explanation that the loan is necessary so that the PA does not collapse financially. "After all, they say they are giving the grant to strengthen the PA against Hamas, but they are also giving Hamas money, one hundred million dollars through the Qatari suitcases. Does the right hand not understand what the left hand is doing?"

In her opinion, the reason for this conduct of Israel is burying its head in the sand and the illusion that a terrorist entity can be strengthened against another terrorist entity. "We want to buy a few minutes of peace and respite. Like transferring the funds to Gaza under the illusion that it will silence Hamas when Hamas uses these funds to build tunnels. After all, all the tunnels were blown up after Operation Protective Edge, so how are there more tunnels? We are empowering Hamas while providing funds. This money provides oxygen for more terrorism. The same goes for the PA. This is a fundamental error in relation to the terrorist authority. Israel thinks the enemy of my enemy is my true friend here, but it's not true. You can't support the Taliban in its war against ISIS."

She said that Gantz was not mistaken in holding the meeting with Abbas, but the defense minister needs to understand who he is dealing with.. "We need to maintain this relationship between the PA and Israel as neighbors, but we need to remember Abu Mazen's words that 'we sent the martyrs and we need to take care of them.' In light of this statement, he should hold the meeting, but not close his eyes."